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Too forced?


I'm in need of opinions. I have a block of space between two theme entries, and it was a pain to fill. My only problem is one entry: "eapoe" as in Edgar Allen Poe. Is that really forcing it or do you think it's acceptable. As a clue I'm going with "Author of....(some story)... in brief." Opinions?

It's a pretty bad answer, but it has been used in the NYT once before, in a Friday themeless puzzle five years ago.  If that's your one bad answer in an otherwise good puzzle, and if all answers crossing it are fine, then you might be okay.  Still, I'd really try to take it out if possible.  The closest analogue I can think of is R.E. LEE, which has been used 23 times in the Will Shortz era, although the general's middle initial is typically included when stating his name.  People don't usually call the author Edgar A. Poe.

One of my rules of thumb is that if it's a short answer with a low Scrabble score (meaning lots of A, E, I, O, U, R, S, T, L, N) but it almost never shows up in crosswords, then that's a decent indicator that it should be avoided.

Yeah, I think ebirnholz has the right idea here. If you don't say a person's name with the middle initial usually, including it in an abbreviation will usually be gross. It's unpleasant fill, but I DO think it would be easy for people to figure out with the right clue, which can sometimes save you. That said, if any of the crossing answers are the least bit iffy, I'd scrap that answer.

I actually started back at square one and was able find a much better arrangement without EAPOE.


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